Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/66

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by anticipation, speaks through what is surrendering its being. Though to acquire or impart form is delightful in art, in thought, in generation, in government, yet a euthanasia of finitude is also known. All is not affectation in the poet who says, “Now more than ever seems it rich to die”; and, without any poetry or affectation, men may love sleep, and opiates, and every luxurious escape from humanity.

The step by which pleasure and pain are attached to ideas, so as to be predictable and to become factors in action, is therefore by no means irrevocable. It is a step, however, in the direction of reason; and though reason’s path is only one of innumerable courses perhaps open to existence, it is the only one that we are tracing here; the only one, obviously, which human discourse is competent to trace.

When consciousness begins to add diversity to its intensity, its value is no longer absolute and inexpressible. The felt variations in its tone are attached to the observed movement of its objects; in these objects its values are imbedded. A world loaded with dramatic values may thus arise in imagination; terrible and delightful presences may chase one another across the void; life will be a kind of music made by all the senses together. Many animals probably have this form of experience; they are not wholly submerged in a vegetative stupor; they can discern what they love or fear. Yet all this is still a